US Midterm elections 2022: Joe Biden hails ‘strong night’ for Democrats
Follow the NationalWorld US Midterms live blog for the latest updates, analysis and results as they come in.
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US President Joe Biden has claimed vindication the day after the US midterm elections, saying Democrats had “a strong night” and he planned to change nothing about his approach despite facing the likelihood of divided government in the nation’s capital.
He brushed off concerns that Republicans, who are on track to take control of the House of Representatives, will investigate his administration and family in what could swiftly become a bruising stretch of his presidency. “I think the American people will look at all that for what it is, almost comedy,” the president said.
While the Republicans are edging closer to taking Congress, either party could still win the Senate, which hinges on three races that are too close to call. Normally the party in power suffers losses during the president’s first midterm elections, but an expected “red wave” has not materialised.
US Midterm elections live
There have been some concerns that if the Republicans win the House, there may be a reduction in the amount of military and monetary aid given to Ukraine in the war with Russia, my colleague Heather Carrick writes. This could in turn weaken Ukraine’s position in the conflict and have a massive affect on the outcome of the war.
However, Dr Provost does not believe that this will actually happen. He explains that Biden actually has fairly strong bipartisan consensus for foreign policy, specifically his aid for Ukraine and sanctions for Russia. This is despite small pockets of the Republican Party disagreeing with US support of Ukraine.
“Foreign Affairs is where we’ve probably seen more bipartisan consensus. We don’t have a lot of bipartisan consensus in the US, but there are a few areas and one area has been over for the most part, to the war on Ukraine. So President Biden has, not complete, but close to complete unilateral authority when it comes to sanctioning the Russian government.
“Biden does need congressional approval for aid so anything involving monetary aid and military aid, those things need the approval of Congress. Now there’s pretty much still a bipartisan consensus around that approach, but there is a small number of Republican legislators who have objected to the amount of money being given to Ukraine and that could be for different reasons.”
These reasons are varied and include domestic economic issues. However, while a small number of Republican representatives may disagree with the aid, Dr Provost explains that some may feel “at odds” with restricting aid.
“Republicans traditionally don’t want as much aid, especially when it comes to humanitarian aid, but usually they favour robust foreign policy. So they’re a little bit maybe a little bit at odds there. They can’t quite figure it out.
There are also smaller and more extreme GOP representatives which may even side with Russia on this issue. Dr Provost said: “Whether or not this wing of the Republican Party becomes big enough to really have an effect on the aid that’s been given to Ukraine, it doesn’t seem likely but you can’t say for sure. I think that the aid going to the Ukraine war probably will not change dramatically.”
Republican governor in Florida tries to block election monitors
Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to block Department of Justice election monitors from gaining access to polling booths in South Florida, the Washington Post reports.
De Santis has said in a letter that the federal government’s involvement would be “counterproductive” and in violation of state law.
The DoJ announced on Monday that it would send election monitors to 64 areas across the states, including three counties in South Florida - which are among the most Democrat leaning areas.
However Brad McVay, the chief counsel for the Florida Department of State, said in a letter that they would not be allowed inside polling places under Florida law.
The elections have been under intense scrutiny after two years of false claims and conspiracy theories about how ballots are cast and counted.
Election scrutiny high but no big hitches reported
Final voting has begun without major hitches in US midterm elections under intense scrutiny after two years of false claims and conspiracy theories about how ballots are cast and counted.
With polls open across most of the country, no big problems were reported early on Tuesday, though there were hiccups in some places, which is typical on any election day.
Vote tabulators were not working in a county in New Jersey and one in Arizona – potentially requiring hand-counting instead – and some voting sites in Pennsylvania were delayed in opening because workers showed up late.
“These are things we see in every election cycle,” said Susannah Goodman, director of election security at Common Cause, a group which advocates for voting access. There’s nothing majorly concerning.”
Since the last nationwide election in 2020, former president Donald Trump and his allies have succeeded in sowing wide distrust about voting by promoting false claims of extensive fraud.
The effort has eroded public confidence in elections and democracy, led to restrictions on mail voting and new ID requirements in some Republican-led states and prompted death threats against election officials.
Election day this year is marked by concerns about further harassment and the potential for disruptions at polling places and at election offices where ballots will be tallied. Election officials say they are prepared to handle any issues that arise, urging voters not to be deterred.
Donald Trump teases Presidential run in 2024
Former president Donald Trump teased a big announcement - likely to be his 2024 White House bid - for next week at his Mar-a-Lago estate as he voted in Palm Beach, Florida, today.
“I think Tuesday will be a very exciting day for a lot of people, and I look forward to seeing you at Mar-a-Lago,” Trump told the Washington Post as he walked with his wife, Melania. “The country has gotten very bad. It’s lost its way, it’s lost its confidence.”
Trump almost announced a presidential run on Monday night during a rally in Ohio, but he stopped short, promising his crowd “a very big announcement” on 15 November. The crowd erupted in cheers. Trump added: “We want nothing to detract from the importance of tomorrow.”
He had previously told his supporters to “get ready” at a rally in Iowa.
This is when we can expect results coming in
The election is currently ongoing in the US. It will continue into the early hours of the morning in UK time.
But when can we expect results? Well, it can be tricky to tell for sure - with a mix of election day voting, postal voting and early voting, and different rules for when these can be counted in each state, there is no set time to declare a winner.
This becomes further complicated if the race is tight, when states will need to rely on a small percentage of postal votes to call the race. This could take weeks after the election is held
Find out more about when each state is expected to declare in our explainer: US Midterm elections 2022: when will we know the results of the House and Senate midterms?
Key states to look out for
While we may be waiting for a while before results begin to roll in, it doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at some of the key states and races within the election.
Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan are all big players at this elections, with many of these states often a deciding factor on what the national outlook for each party is.
From tighly-fought races, to a direct ballot on abortion rights, here’s your breakdown of where and what to look out for as results being to roll in: US Midterm elections 2022: what are the key states to look out for including Arizona - why are they important?
Republican election denier rhetoric imprints on Midterms
Following the 2020 Presidential Election, Republicans were quick to back Donald Trump’s claims of a “stolen” election. Many questioned Joe Biden’s legitimacy in the role and claimed election fraud in many states.
This way of thinking has already seeped into the Midterms. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is said to be blocking federal election monitors from observing three counties - instead the incumbent Governor is inisting on sending election monitors from Florida to monitor polling stations.
Elections monitors have been commonly used in US elections and aim to ensure that voting is compliant with federal voting law.
False social media reports of faulty voting machines have also surfaced throughout the day.
Kari Lake, Republican candidate for governor in Arizona, said that she had been contacted within “minutes” of polling opening with reports of fauly voting machines.
She said: “I hope it’s not malice and when we win there’s going to be a come to Jesus for elections in Arizona.”
Abortion and inflation among most important issues to voters, according to early polling
Early exit polls have shown that the two issues influencing voters at the polls during the Midterms is abortion and inflation.
It may come as no surprise that these two topics are some of the most influential - abortion was pushed to the top of the political agenda following the overturning of Roe v Wade, and increasing inflation has seen the cost of living skyrocket across the globe.
The national exit poll also show that other topics influencing the vote was gun control, crime an immigration, however these issues polled proportionately lower that the top two.
Good morning and welcome to NationalWorld’s US Midterms live blog. The story overnight is that the Democrats have outperformed expectations and could keep hold of the Senate.
They have defeated Republicans in several races and defied expectations that high inflation and President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings would drag the party down.
In the most heartening news for the Democrats, John Fetterman flipped the Republican-controlled senate seat for Pennsylvania that is key to the party’s hopes of maintaining control of the chamber.
In the race for the house of representatives, Democrats kept seats in districts from Virginia to Kansas and Rhode Island, while many districts in states like New York and California had not been called.
Democrats were also successful in governors’ races, winning in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – battlegrounds critical to Mr Biden’s 2020 win over former president Donald Trump.
With votes still being counted across the country, Republicans still have the opportunity to win control of congress.
But the results are uplifting for Democrats who were braced for sweeping losses, and raised questions about the size of Republicans’ governing majority if they win the house.
Democrats take Senate in Pennsylvania
In the Pennsylvania senate race, John Fetterman had faced questions about his fitness for office after suffering a stroke just days before the state’s primary, but he nonetheless bested Republican Dr Mehmet Oz in a major rebuke to Mr Trump, whose endorsement helped Mr Oz win his competitive primary.
“I’m so humbled,” Mr Fetterman, wearing his signature hoodie, told his supporters early on Wednesday morning. “This campaign has always been about fighting for everyone who’s ever been knocked down that ever got back up.”